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Cultural Trust deserves support

Oregonians love our great outdoors, a good beer and our beautiful state. We also value our famous quality of life. The Oregon Cultural Trust is a unique way to support what makes Oregon so special.

As unique as public beaches and the bottle bill, the Oregon Cultural Trust was established in 2001 to support art, heritage, history and humanities. The trust lets Oregonians double the impact of their donations to cultural nonprofits at no additional cost.

Here’s how it works: Donate to one or more of Oregon’s more than 1,400 cultural nonprofits, then make a matching gift to the Cultural Trust by Dec. 31. You get 100 percent of the Cultural Trust donation back when you file your state taxes — by claiming the cultural tax credit — and the state Legislature invests that same amount in Oregon culture.

That’s right, the state of Oregon funds our music, our libraries, our museums and our monuments, but only when you demonstrate how important they are to you.

In 2017 gifts to the Cultural Trust totaled close to $5 million. Working with statewide and regional partners, the trust redistributed more than

$3 million of that amount in 2018 grants and funding. The rest goes into a permanent endowment.

This year, in Jackson County alone, more than $167,000 in grants went Anima Mundi Productions, the Ashland New Plays Festival, Ballet Folklorico Ritmo Alegre, the Butte Creek Mill Foundation, Oregon Shakespeare Festival Association, Rogue Valley Symphony Association, Southern Oregon University Foundation and Jackson County Cultural Coalition.

All you need to do is total the donations you are already giving to cultural organizations you support, write a check in a matching amount (up to $1,000 for joint filers) to the Cultural Trust and claim your cultural tax credit on your state taxes. We are trusting you won’t keep this important secret to yourself! Visit culturaltrust.org to learn more.

George Kramer of Ashland is a member of the board of the Oregon Cultural Trust.